Earlier today the White House promised a “shocking” report on the intelligence failures leading up to the aborted Christmas Day bombing and an address by the President directly from the White House. Neither the report nor the President’s remarks told us much new nor anything particularly shocking. It was pretty clear from the outset that government screwed up big time.

It is hard to be in awe of an administration that seems to behind the rest of us.

Likewise, the President’s laundry list of remedies seem like cold comfort. Trying to turn airports into Fort Knox won’t work. Changing the rules about how intelligence is collected, distributed, and evaluated will certainly come up short sooner or later as well. That’s because we are not fighting idiots.

The only way to end this once and for all is to fight and win the war that the administration up to this point has treated as just another public policy problem.

At least there were some promising words that ought to give us hope.

First, the president said he was at fault. He was right. Admitting he failed is the first step.

Second, the president admitted, finally, America is at war with al Qaeda. This is not just another law enforcement problem.

Third, and most important, he said this is war that can be won. We have won many battles in the fight. We beat them in Iraq. We have taken down al Qaeda leaders around the world and foiled at 28 attacks aimed at the US since 9/11. Although al Qaeda almost got lucky this time, we have hit them and hurt them before and we can do it again. We take the battle to the enemy and root them out, expose them illegitimate and evil, and destroy them.

Now all the president needs to be is to be true to his words. Be a war president 24-7-365 not just during a drive time speech.